EU agriculture commissioner calls for pragmatism on unfair trading practices

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

EU agriculture and rural development commissioner Phil Hogan has called for level-headed assessment before adopting food legislation
EU agriculture and rural development commissioner Phil Hogan has called for level-headed assessment before adopting food legislation

Related tags: Unfair trading practices, European union, Eu

EU agriculture and rural development commissioner Phil Hogan wants a review of evidence before Brussels seriously considers legislation to tackle unfair trading practices in the food industry. 

Hogan has called for a “level-headed”​ assessment of the pros and cons of adopting EU-wide measures to tackle unfair trading practices. This comes after the European Commission faced calls from EU farming body Copa-Cogeca to address the imbalance of power in Europe’s food supply chain by adopted an EU-wide scheme to stamp out unethical trading.

“In relation to unfair trading practices, it is certainly true that the discussion on how to best curb them has been ongoing for some time,”​ said Hogan at a working dinner on 13 September.

“Twenty member states now have legislation on unfair trading, which typically covers the principles established by the Commission’s High Level Forum for a Better Functioning Food Supply Chain. Regardless of which side of the debate one stands on, I hope you will share the view that we ought to look level-headed at the evidence and consider the advantages and shortcomings of the approaches. I will therefore listen very carefully to views and experience in respect of the presidency´s question on the value of a common framework on unfair trading practices.”

The rotating presidency of the Council of the EU now sits with Slovakia, which will chair EU council meetings for the next six months. At a meeting of high-ranking EU agriculture officials in Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava, Cogeca president Thomas Magnusson said an EU-wide scheme was necessary.

“To achieve​ [a sustainable farming sector] we need to adopt and implement at EU level a legislative framework combined with voluntary codes of good practice to combat unfair trading practices in the food chain and ensure that the Single Market functions properly,“​ said Magnusson.

“Such a system must be overseen by an independent third party adjudicator that together with its enforcement role can receive and act on anonymous complaints. The EU independent third party adjudicator should liaise with its counterparts in member states and coordinate with the EU and member states bodies responsible for implementing legislation including on competition.”

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